What happens to the food you put back on the conveyor? The food service at Central Oregon Community College is helping cut down on food waste by serving trayless meals, recycling food waste and composting excess food, according to Herb Baker, Food Service director at COCC.
In this method of serving, each person who comes through the food lines is not given a tray but a plate or bowl. People will go sit down to eat and then decide if they are still hungry or not, Baker said.
“With the trayless food style,” said Baker, “less food is thrown away and less water is used on dishes.”
When Baker first came to COCC in 2009, he tried to start a recycling and composting program but it fell through, and now they’re working with Bend Recycling.
Bend Recycling comes to collect the food waste once a week, said Susan Baker, the marketing manager at Bend Recycling.
“So now we separate our food and non-food,” Herb Baker said. “Basically it’s the right thing to do.”
Baker is in charge of managing Java Jam, the cafeteria, and the food for residents in Juniper Hall.
Another way that Baker is helping with food waste is by giving it to local pig farmers. When pig farmers inquire about scraps to feed their pigs, Sodexo welcomes them to come and collect food waste.
The only food that is not recycled is meat.
“When meat composts it has a bacterium that will kill the worms,” Baker said.
Because of the possibilities of the bad bacteria the meat goes into the regular garbage.
Baker believes that recycling and composting food waste will have long term effects on the earth.
“We take the food waste out to Deschutes Recycling at Knott landfill,” Baker said.
After the food waste is picked up it goes through a five to seven month process to turn into compost that Bend Recycling will sell as fertilizer.
“When looking at the bigger picture it’s the next thing that can be taken from the landfill,” Baker said about why they recycle food waste.
With removing food waste from landfills it will give the existing landfills longer lives and cut down on the number of landfills needed.
“In the long run it’s going to save money, make the planet cleaner, and beautify the planet,” Baker stated.